Laramie County Community College is entering a bond election on Nov. 7 that, if passed, will help fund current projects on campus.
The current projects are renovations of the Fine Arts and Recreation and Athletic Complex buildings, and construction of an auditorium and new residence hall.
According to The Economic Value of Wyoming Community Colleges main report from March 2016, LCCC adds more than $37.5 million to the regional economy each year. Past and present LCCC students generate more than $129 million in added income for the region.
One goal of the project is to increase student enrollment to recruit and retain individuals in Cheyenne, Laramie County and the greater state of Wyoming.
The second goal is to keep up the maintenance of these buildings, and to take care of the old buildings.
“One goal is to just update these buildings to extend the use of the buildings and create educational spaces that students will engage in,” President Dr. Joe Schaffer said.
The conversation of where to move forward in this project began in June when the college ran a poll analysis.
“Trying to raise $29 million privately is probably going to be pretty tough, and that is when the first conversation about going out to the voters started to rise,” Schaffer said.
For the polling process done by Frederick Polls, people who vote in every election were asked to take part in the survey. The sample size was 300.
The interview dates for the poll were from June 14 through June 18.
In the poll, voters were asked how they felt about the state of the economy. 83 percent of the respondents rated the economy of Laramie County as positive. 58 percent of respondents believed that the level of property taxes homeowners in Laramie County pay isn’t too high.
The beginning rate of voter approval within the poll focusing on the $29 million bond ballot was 55 percent. After the language of the ballot was made clearer, the percentage went up to 56 percent.
After educating voters about the projects, the poll suggested that the percentage would go up to 60 percent.
“This poll gave us the green light saying, ‘Hey things look pretty good, and the community seems favorable to the concepts,’” Schaffer said.
From the Frederick Poll, there was feedback as to why certain individuals don’t agree with passing the bond.
One comment was that tuition should be raised to cover the costs; however, student fees will fund a portion of the cost for the renovations and expansion of the Recreation and Athletics Complex.
Another voter believes that Laramie County is decreasing in size and that the facilities would not be utilized. This voter also mentioned that everything LCCC wants to update or add to the campus is already 45 minutes down the road at the University of Wyoming.
Currently, the college is now in the process of educating residents of Laramie County on how these improvements would benefit the city, the county, and the state.
“With our history, we have seen how powerful LCCC can be in bringing people to Cheyenne, educating them, and encouraging them to stay in the state or region,” Schaffer said.